Iceberg is the unsung hero of lettuces. Here it is celebrated in its own right. Crispy grains, puffed rice, eggs: this dish is almost healthy.
- 50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) mixed (white, black and red) quinoa
- juice of ½ lemon
- dash of olive oil
- 45 g (1½ oz/1½ cups) watercress sprigs
- 4 kale leaves, stems removed
- 1 iceberg lettuce
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) Green goddess dressing (see below)
- 2 soft-poached eggs, or soft-boiled eggs (peeled and cut in half)
- dill sprigs, to garnish
- 4 extremely ripe roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and cut in half lengthways
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
- 2 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 1½ tbsp sherry vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- 2 tsp mustard
- 1½ tbsp canola oil
- 1½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp sugar
Puffed wild rice
- 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) canola or vegetable oil
- 50 g (1¾ oz/¼ cup) wild rice
- 4 garlic bulbs, separated into individual cloves then peeled
- 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) extra virgin olive oil
Green goddess dressing
- 250 g (9 oz/1 cup) sour cream
- 125 g (4½ oz) watercress, large stems removed
- 2 tbsp small capers, drained and rinsed of brine
- ¼ batch of Garlic confit
- 25 g (1 oz/½ cup) thinly sliced chives
- 3 tbsp thinly sliced tarragon (NOT chopped, as this will bruise the leaves)
- 30 g (1 oz/½ cup) thinly sliced dill
- 3 tbsp thinly sliced flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
- juice of 2 lemons
- 200 ml (7 fl oz) buttermilk
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Baking time 6-8 hours or overnight
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To oven-dry the tomatoes, preheat the oven to 110°C (225°F). Line a baking tray with baking paper. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, tossing to coat the tomatoes. Lay them on the baking tray, cut side up, and bake for 6–8 hours (or overnight), until the tomatoes have shrunk to half their size, and look shrivelled, but not dry. (See Note)
To make the vinaigrette, combine the vinegar, honey and mustard and whisk thoroughly. Slowly whisk in the oils to emulsify them. Stir in the sea salt and sugar and set aside.
Cook the quinoa according to the packet instructions. Add the lemon juice and olive oil, toss, then set aside while finishing the salad.
To puff the rice, heat the canola oil in a frying pan over high heat, until smoking. Add the rice; it will immediately puff. Slowly shake the pan for about 10 seconds — the rice will look tan and cracked. Immediately strain into a metal container, reserving the oil for another use. Season the puffed rice lightly with sea salt.
To make the garlic confit, put the garlic in a small saucepan, season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and cover with the olive oil. Simmer very slowly on the lowest heat for about 1 hour, or until the garlic becomes sweet, tan in colour and quite soft, but still retains its shape. (See Note)
To make the dressing, process the sour cream, watercress, capers and garlic confit in a blender until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and taste for salt (capers can be very salty). Fold in the herbs and lemon juice and season liberally with freshly ground black pepper. Taste again for salt and adjust as needed. Stir in the buttermilk; the consistency should be similar to ketchup. Refrigerate in an airtight container until needed. The dressing will keep for up to 3 days.
In a mixing bowl, dress the watercress and kale with about 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) of the vinaigrette (any leftover vinaigrette will keep indefinitely in an airtight jar in the fridge).
Trim the lettuce and cut in thirds horizontally. Dress the middle disc with most of the green goddess dressing. (Use the remaining lettuce discs in another salad or on sandwiches.) Arrange the lettuce on a platter. Scatter with the quinoa, tomatoes, watercress, kale and puffed rice. Top with the eggs, drizzle with the remaining dressing, garnish with dill and serve.
• The oven-dried tomatoes will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week
• Stored in the oil, the garlic confit will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for several weeks.
Recipe and image from Fried Chicken and Friends: The Hartsyard Family Cookbook by Gregory Llewellyn and Naomi Hart (Murdoch Books, $49.99, hbk). View our Readable Feasts review and more recipes from the book here.